Leonard Bernstein: Some Other Time

In category: Song of the Day

Published July 30, 2018

From Charles Cermele, Lincoln Center’s Producer of Contemporary Programming
(American Songbook):

The universal appeal of these lyrics and the musical sophistication of this composition attract singers and musicians from many musical genres. The blues-inflected chord changes make it a favorite of jazz musicians, and vocalists are drawn to the emotional truth underlying the clever word play. “Some Other Time” was written for the 1944 musical On the Town by Leonard Bernstein with lyrics by Betty Comden and Adolph Green. Three sailors on 24-hour shore leave in New York City meet three women before returning to their ship to leave for war. Omitted from the film version, the song is shared by four characters in the stage musical, knowing they may never see each other again, but hoping to catch up some other time.

It was the late 1980s when I first heard this performance by Tony Bennett and Bill Evans. I was a performer in my late 20s and the story of young people faced with their possible final goodbyes rang terribly true to me as I lost friends and lovers to AIDS. I began using “Some Other Time” as the encore for my solo concerts, unsure how long we had to enjoy this beautiful song. In this recording, Bill Evans communicates so much in the very last moments of his performance. Tony Bennett sings the final notes. The piano goes softer and higher up on the scale until it disappears completely in the middle of the melody. And then a final, isolated chord.

Music by Leonard Bernstein
Lyrics by Betty Comden and Adolph Green

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This week our curators of the Song of the Day blog are members of the Artistic Programming staff of Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts. NYFOS makes its debut in Lincoln Center’s Mostly Mozart Festival on August 8, 2018 with Lyrics by Shakespearea program exploring the Bard’s influence on music though the centuries.


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    Charles — A lovely post. I remember my shivers the first time I heard you sing “Some Other Time” in the early 1990s. I have a ticket for 8/8, maybe I’ll see you there? Amy Asch

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      One of my favorite songs and the Bill Evans/Tony Bennett recordings are priceless. I always thought there would be no more “embracing” for the people involved giving the song a more extreme melancholy. This song was cut from the film version of “On the Town” it is said because some in the production thought it would slow down the film somewhat. Bad decision.

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        Couldn’t agree with you more !

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    Dad would LOVE it as I do!!
    Dad was a Boys High graduate, and, in “On the Town,” you will hear, “I went to Boys High.”
    I have numerous pictures with Tony Bennett, and one picture with the incomparable Betty Comden.
    They are available upon request.

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    A great song and a great song for that spot in the show. Those sailors are headed off to who knows what, but perhaps never to return. Instead we got the MGM policy of cutting any song which was not already a hit. The songs by the talented Roger Edens are pleasant but do not measure up to the originals. Back in the 70’s they screened On the Town on PBS with Roddy McDowell introducing the film and interviewing Gene Kelly. Gene spoke of how he fell in love with the original production but MGM policy would not allow them to make it the same way. He recalled that the original had a melting pot romance which LB Mayer would not approve. Se we end on with Gabby (Gene) going to New York only to fall in love with Miss Turnstiles, a girl from his home town (and same High School). There’s no place like home, after all. Gene in that interview still wished he could have made it closer to the original.


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